Posts Tagged ‘Invitation’

A Last Minute Invite

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Storytelling
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So, what are you doing on Sunday morning?

If you’re going to be in the Guelph area then I’d like to invite you to drop around to Westminister-St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. The regular Sunday service starts at 10:30am.

If you do you’ll get a chance to hear yours truly give a little presentation called “At the Marriage Feast with Mordecai .”  What is it? I’ll let the church bulletin explain…

The presentation Dennis will do, offers a midrash (a Jewish story amplifying a biblical text) on the text of John 2: 1-11 (the wedding feast at Cana, where Jesus performs his first miracle – turning water into wine).  The story is told from the perspective of a participant at the marriage feast, specifically one, Mordecai, uncle of the groom.  This original presentation, researched, written and recounted by Dennis Gray, fills in much of the cultural detail around Jewish marriage that John’s first readers would, of course, have known, but which most readers of John’s gospel today do not.

I’m not a big fan of blowing my own horn, but hey, one needs to get the word out somehow. Besides, I’d like to get the chance to meet some of you and that’s only going to happen if you know where I’ll be. So please, drop on by and introduce yourself. 

 Here’s a map showing where to find WSP.
View Larger Map

Until next time…  see you in church.

Okay.. there two things that I want to talk to you about.

The first is art. The scriptures say that man was created in the image of God. For me the greatest evidence of this has always been humankind’s ability to create. From the earliest cave paintings to the delicate intricacies of an electron guitar, I really believe our obsession with bringing what we can imagine into some degree of reality one of our most God-like qualities.

It’s why I’ve always thought that those who believe in God should support those who make best use of their creativity. To the best of our ability to afford it, there should be art in our homes, original when possible, prints and replicas when necessary, but there must be art. It is an expression of the creative spark that God has placed in all of us. For this reason, I have always made a point of supporting and promoting the artists that come into my life, be they musicians, sculptors, architects, painters, whatever.

Which brings me to my friend Stephen. I have known Stephen Ascough for nearly three decades. And while I have long coveted his friendship, I will confess that what I envy most is his artistic ability. I am proud to have three of Stephen’s original nature drawings hanging on the walls of my home. They remind me not only of a great friendship, but of the wonder of God’s creation expressed in an act of love and creativity.

I know, I’m getting a little mushy here, but it’s hard not too – Stephen’s work always amazes me. Sometimes I look at the three pictures I have in my home, (the mushrooms are my favourite) and I still see things in them I never noticed before. But why am I telling you this now?

Because recently my friend Stephen was accepted as a member of Artists For Conservation, a “non-profit, international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. The Foundation represents the world’s leading collective of nature artists and an unparalleled pool of artistic talent focussed on nature. The organization’s mission is to support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural heritage.” Membership is limited and by invitation, I’m thrilled for my friend that he has been included.

As a result of this for the first time, high quality art prints of his work is available on the web. The picture at right is from his home page at AFC where you can see more of his work and purchase a print. On selected works a portion of the purchase price will go to the AFC Foundation to support their work in world wide conservation efforts. I invite you to visit his home page and consider the possibilities. You can use the following link or the one in the sidebar at right.

http://www.natureartists.com/stephen_ascough.asp

The second thing I’d like to mention is The Ride to Conquer Cancer. The Ride is a 200km cycling tour from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Ontario through the Halton Hills, down through the wine country of the Niagara peninsula, to the natural majesty of Niagara Falls, natural wonder and honeymoon capital of North America. The funds raised through this event will help to ensure that the vital cancer research that is done at Princess Margaret (one of the top five such centres in the world) continues.

I’d be surprises if there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t seen someone in their lives touched by this all to common disease. If you are so inclined to do so I would appreciate it if you would follow the link to my personal page at the Ride’s web site and make a donation in support of my participation in the event.

On behalf of the thousands who will benefit from the work that goes on at Princess Margaret, I thank you.

Dennis Gray

Lest We Forget

Posted: November 6, 2006 in History, Politics
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Each November we see a wide variety of things come to light that are intended to help us remember the men and women who have given their lives in the service of their country. Some of these are good and honourable ideas, others are just attempts to cash in on the emotions that run high at this time of year. Every once in a while however an idea surfaces that is an unqualified ‘ one of ‘ that makes you sit up and take notice. Today, I came across such an idea.

There are three Canadians left alive who served during the First World War. They are: 105-year-old Dwight (Percy) Wilson (shown in photo getting a kiss from his grand-daughter on his 105th birthday) and Lloyd Clemett and John Babcock, both 106. They are the last remaining links to the 619,636 Canadians who served between 1914 and 1918. Soon, when they too have passed on, there will be no one left to say, “Thank You” to from that terrible time in our history.

The Dominion Institute has suggested that when the inevitable day comes that the last of Canada’s WWI veterans passes, they should, on behalf of all the 66, 655 Canadians who died in service to their country during that war, be given a formal state funeral. I fully agree.

The passing of the last WWI veteran will, in fact, mark the passing of a generation, even an era. We should do all we can to make sure that their sacrifice does not fade from memory. To give the last veteran a state funeral as a significant tribute to every soldier who died in WWI is by all means a very fitting act. I hope you agree as well.

I am therefore asking you to join with me in asking our federal government to do just that. There is an online petition available to be signed at www.dominion.ca/petition . You may well have heard about this on the news by now, so what I have written here is not news. Some of you have already signed and for that I thank you. If you hadn’t please take a moment to click on the link above and do so. You will receive a verification email that requires you click another link to verify your email address is a valid one. The whole process takes only a few minutes.

The passing of the last Canadian WWI veteran will only happen once in our entire history. Let’s make sure it is an event that is well remembered.

Shalom…